Palisade itching to get on the field to play

Palisade High School pitcher Jesse Brannon winds up for the pitch as the baseball team holds practice in the school gym due to a spell of wintery weather.

A lot of coaches preach about focusing on only the things a team can control.

For the Palisade High School baseball team, it’s been what it can’t control that has been causing the Bulldogs problems.

Poor weather has cost the Bulldogs three games this season, including last weekend’s trip to the Front Range, where they were to play Palmer Ridge and Windsor. The two cancellations added to the March 7 game against Woodland Park that was canceled.

“We have been unlucky and caught the weather on almost every game,” Palisade coach Steve Moore said. “It’s a challenge for these kids to keep motivated when they are not on the field, and all we can do is practice.”

Palisade was able to add a game against Central last month, but today’s 4 p.m. game at Suplizio Field against Rangeview will mark only the fifth game this season for the Bulldogs.

The early season weather has been frustrating for a Palisade team that is young, and more than anything, needs game experience to develop.

“We haven’t gotten into any flow,” Moore said. “We have good team chemistry, but the fundamentals, flow and rhythm to be consistent isn’t there.”

Palisade (1-3) hasn’t played since splitting a Western Slope League doubleheader March 21 against Eagle Valley.

Senior Jake Appling said the Bulldogs are itching to get onto the field.

“We are frustrated because we are so anxious to get out there,” Appling said. “The guys are ready to play, and we have been for a long time.”

Appling said the team was working out together before the season started, so the lack of games has been magnified.

“We only had a couple of basketball players, so we have had the team together working out for a long time,” Appling said. “Once the season starts, it seems like there are games almost every other day, but we have had only four, so it’s like,
‘When is it going to start?’ ”

This past Monday was another example of the weather playing tricks on the Bulldogs.

A snow-covered field pushed them into the gym to continue working on fundamentals. Moore said the players can only do so much without seeing live game situations.

“Our guys need to see live pitching, and you can only have so many scrimmages during the week,” Moore said. “They have to see that curveball, and in the cage it isn’t the same. Any coach will tell you seeing a live pitch and seeing a coach’s pitch is totally different.”

Today’s game is the Bulldogs’ last opportunity to work out the kinks in nonleague play. Saturday, Palisade has a league doubleheader against Steamboat Springs at Canyon View Park.

“I hope we can get the game in (today),” Moore said. “I don’t care if we play the defending state champion, we need to get a game in, get onto the field and get into a rhythm.”


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